WCLA Update: MEC Fritz sends stern warning against unlicensed sale of alcohol
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, notes that the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) has conducted 288 investigations into reports of non-compliance in terms of the Western Cape Liquor Act and the National Disaster Risk Management Act’s Regulations by liquor vendors between 27 March 2020 and 11 December 2020. Of the 288 investigations, 51 licenses were suspended, four were revoked and one license was cancelled.
Minister Fritz has further relayed a stern warning against the unlawful sale of alcohol, stating that it is an offence, according to section 32(3) read 32(1) of the Western Cape Liquor Act, to sell alcohol without a license as this is a threat to the health and wellbeing of the general public.
Of the 288 investigations, 85 section 71 matters were placed on the Liquor Licensing Tribunal’s (LLT) case roll, of which:
- 51 licences were suspended;
- 23 applications were dismissed; and
- 11 applications were referred to the Prosecutor.
Of the 51 licences that were suspended, 51 section 71(4) return hearings took place, of which:
- One licence was revoked after finalisation of a section 20 consideration;
- 46 suspensions were lifted by the LLT;
- Two suspensions were lifted, one in the High Court and one as part of internal Appeal Tribunal proceedings; and
- Two return hearings are pending.
In total, 76 COVID-19 related section 20 matters were forwarded to the LLT, of which:
- Three licences were revoked;
- One licence was cancelled;
- Five applications were dismissed;
- The licensee was issued with stricter conditions in four instances;
- Six licences were suspended;
- One application was referred to the Prosecutor; and
- 29 matters are currently pending.
Minister Fritz said, “In 27 matters fines to the amount of R2.563 million were issued, of which an amount of R1.381 million was suspended for a period of 24 months on condition that the licence holder does not contravene the Act and licence conditions again during this period.”
Illegal sale of alcohol
Last night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the sale of alcohol would be limited to Mondays to Thursdays, excluding public holidays, between 10am and 6pm for off-consumption purposes including sale at liquor stores.
Minister Fritz said, “We have seen before that when alcohol restrictions are implemented, that the illicit sale of alcohol often follows, particularly during the days and times when the sale of liquor is not allowed. Further, that the illicit liquor is sold at highly inflated prices during these periods. I remind all residents that it is criminal and dangerous to sell alcohol without a license and call on residents not to support such a trade.”
Minister Fritz added, “Over the last few months, many licensed liquor traders including bars and restaurants have been hard hit by the restrictions on the sale and transportation of alcohol. They have had to innovate their businesses to adhere to the restrictions and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the public. Let us ensure that we take every precaution to not only limit alcohol harms and prevent the spread of Covid-19, but further ensure that our licensed liquor vendors who are safely operating, continue to do so.”
Weekend compliance operations
Over the past weekend, WCLA Liquor Inspectors conducted compliance and enforcement visits in the following policing precincts, in collaboration with SAPS and other Law Enforcement Agencies in Bonnievale, Cape Town, Observatory, Table View, Blaauwberg, Langa and Mitchells Plain.
During these operations, 33 compliance visits were conducted. Two Compliance Notices were issued by SAPS, one fine was issued by City of Cape Town Law Enforcement, and three Section 20 Reports were submitted.
Minister Fritz said, “The WCLA Liquor Inspectors play a key role in the Western Cape Government's efforts to combat the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic through the enforcement of the existing regulations under Alert Level 1. These compliance visits aim to ensure that alcohol is sold and consumed responsibly with the necessary Covid-19 safety measures in place.”
Minister Fritz added, “While premises were found to be implementing the necessary Covid-19 safety protocols. Liquor Inspectors identified multiple premises with on-consumption licences who were selling liquor for off-consumption purposes.”
Minister Fritz added further, “The Cape Town inspections were part of a joint operation with the SAPS and its various units, City of Cape Town Law Enforcement and Metro Police, and the Minister of Police, Gen. Bheki Cele. Six licenced premises were visited in the Cape Town CBD and most were found to be non-compliant.”
Cayla Ann Tomás Murray
Spokesperson for Minister Albert Fritz
Tel: 021 483 9217
Cell: 064 121 7959